Noble to race in British GT Cup

British sportscar marque Noble will enter the British GT Championship for the first time next year with reigning champion outfit Rollcentre Racing.

Noble to race in British GT Cup

It will net be a factory effort, but a version of the Leicestershire firm's M12 GTO supercar will be run in the Cup class of the series by Martin Short's squad after the pair linked up via Short's long-term sponsor Mole Valley, an approved Noble dealer.

Short's team, which ran Tom Herridge to the overall GT title in its GTO-class Mosler MT900R, will convert to a road-going M12 for the assault. The squad will fit race shock absorbers, rollcage and fuel tank as well as slick tyres. The 350bhp engine is not expected to need upgrading, although short admits that, because the car weighs just 1000kg, a substantial amount of ballast may be required to bring it up to the minimum limit.

"The handling of the Noble is of such a high standard that we don't really forsee having to do much," said Short. "It was obvious last season that, whenever the Cup class was at a twisty circuit, the Porsches struggled and the nimble cars shone. The Noble is not only Nimble, but also has a serious amount of reliable grunt."

Noble spokesman Simon Hucknall said: "Martin came to us and asked about using one of our cars. We were not interested in racing as a factory effort because we are more concerned about developing our road going range. But we can see the benefit of our cars racing in the GT championship. The M12 has really taken off as a track day car, but we are not aware of any competition examples."

Rollcentre will continue to run its Mosler in the Premier class of the championship, and drives are available for both cars in'04. Short has elected to branch out into the Cup class despite the future of the lower category being unclear not that the series has been taken over by the FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel.

Short said: "Quite what Stephane will do with the class is not decided yet, but he has assured me that the class will remain. This is good news as it has shown that it is budget GT racing and a healthy stepladder for drivers." GT Cup champion Patrick Pearce will race with Rollcentre at this weekend's Bathurst 24 Hours.

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